Zardoz

( 11 )

Overview

Director John Boorman (Deliverance, Point Blank, Hope and Glory) examines his own Shangri-La in this highly unusual cult film. The disc presents it in widescreen anamorphic (aspect ratio of 2.35:1) with audio choices of English in Dolby Digital 3.0 and French in Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono. Unfortunately, for some scenes a slight tunneling effect can be heard. There are subtitles in English and Spanish. The film was shot by cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth (Cabaret, 2001: A Space Odyssey), who perfected a technique ...
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Overview

Director John Boorman (Deliverance, Point Blank, Hope and Glory) examines his own Shangri-La in this highly unusual cult film. The disc presents it in widescreen anamorphic (aspect ratio of 2.35:1) with audio choices of English in Dolby Digital 3.0 and French in Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono. Unfortunately, for some scenes a slight tunneling effect can be heard. There are subtitles in English and Spanish. The film was shot by cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth (Cabaret, 2001: A Space Odyssey), who perfected a technique that was intentionally soft; thus the images shouldn't be confused with the traits of a faulty digital transfer. That said, the transfer isn't perfect by any means, but it is quite presentable. One of the special features of the disc is a screen-specific audio commentary by the director. Though there are many pauses and it is not truly "screen-specific," Boorman does offer many insights, including the admission that perhaps the film suffers from having too many ideas. Also included is a theatrical trailer of the film, as well as trailers for Alien Nation, Aliens, Enemy Mine, Independence Day, and The Abyss. A "Still Gallery" has nine production photos and concept art pieces, ten lobby cards and publicity photos, and five images of one sheets and press books. The disc is rounded off by six radio spots. All in all, this is a solid presentation of this science fiction oddity.
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Special Features

Anamorphic widescreen [aspect ratio 2.35:1]; Interactive menus; Scene selection; Audio: English 3.0 surround, French stereo; Subtitles: English, Spanish; Director's commentary; Radio spots; Still gallery; Theatrical trailer
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
This infamous sci-fi opus is one of those rare cult films that actually lives up to its hype. Unfortunately for Zardoz, its hype is double-edged -- this film is just as infamous for being muddled and self-indulgent as it is for being daring and brainy. The trouble begins at script level; John Boorman has packed his film with about three or four movies' worth of intriguing ideas, but this abundance of concepts comes at the expense of characterization depth and coherent storytelling. Boorman's direction is surprisingly uneven; many sequences are striking but just as many fall flat due to poor direction of extras and abrupt, indifferent transitions from one scene to the next. Also, like many science fiction films of the 1970s, the vision of futuristic design in Zardoz is so closely linked to the styles of its own era that its look has dated badly. However, Zardoz is not unwatchable despite such flaws. For one thing, all of the lead performances are quite good: Sean Connery gives a committed performance in an unusual role that is light years away from James Bond, and British stage vets like John Alderton and Sara Kestelman give straight-faced, serious performances that make the script's more out-there moments play in a believable fashion. Zardoz further benefits from a genuine sense of unpredictability -- it's virtually impossible to guess what strange event or otherworldly concept will be thrown your way next. It's a shame this sense of daring couldn't have been applied to a more focused, consistent story. To sum up, Zardoz is a brave misfire that might intrigue sci-fi cultists but is likely to confuse and confound most other viewers.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/27/2001
  • UPC: 024543013051
  • Original Release: 1973
  • Rating:

  • Source: 20th Century Fox
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Cinemascope (2.35:1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Surround
  • Language: English, Fran├žais
  • Time: 1:46:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 12,951

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Sean Connery Zed
Charlotte Rampling Consuella
Sara Kestelman May
John Alderton Friend
Sally Anne Newton Avalow
Niall Buggy Arthur Frayn
Barbre Dowling Star
Reginald Jannan Death
Bosco Hogan George Saden
Jessica Swift Apathetic
Christopher Casson Old Scientist
Technical Credits
John Boorman Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Stanford C. Allen Editor
Martin Atkinson Set Decoration/Design
Christel Boorman Costumes/Costume Designer
Miriam Brickman Casting
John Hoesli Set Decoration/Design
Gerry Johnston Special Effects
Peter MacDonald Camera Operator
John Merritt Editor
David Munrow Score Composer
Basil Newall Makeup
Charles Orme Associate Producer
Anthony Pratt Production Designer
Simon Relph Asst. Director
Liam Saurin Sound/Sound Designer
Charles Staffell Makeup
Doug Turner Sound/Sound Designer
Geoffrey Unsworth Cinematographer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Scene Selection
1. The Puppet Master [:15]
2. Zardoz Speaks (Main Titles) [1:25]
3. The Itruder [5:09]
4. The Vortex [:30]
5. Zed's Memories [3:30]
6. Monster in Our Midst [4:00]
7. Time for Work [3:18]
8. Analyzing the Brutal [4:19]
9. Eternals & Apathetics [4:08]
10. Further Analysis [2:44]
11. The Vote [:36]
12. The Gift of Death [2:32]
13. The Truth [3:25]
14. You Are the One [2:09]
15. The Hunted [3:01]
16. The Bringer of Life [4:22]
17. From Out of Time [1:30]
18. The Crystal [4:50]
19. Come from the Dead [1:10]
20. Consuella's Gift [4:14]
21. See into the Crystal [7:01]
22. Voice of the Turtle [:32]
23. Death Approaches [4:02]
24. Life Unto Death [2:34]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Language Selection
   Extra Features
      Theatrical Trailer
      Commentary by Director John Boorman
         Commentary On
         Commentary Off
      Still Gallery
         Production Photos & Concept Art
         Lobby Cards & Publicity Photo
         One Sheets & Press Book
      Fox Films
         Alien Nation
         Aliens
         Enemy Mine
         Independance Day
         The Abyss
      Radio Spots
         Beyond 1984 - 60 Seconds
         Third Death - 60 Seconds
         Beyond 1984 Alternative - 60 Seconds
         Third Death Alternative - 60 Seconds
         Beyond 1984 - 30 Seconds
         Third Death - 60 Seconds
   Play Movie
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(4)

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    'And You Poor Creatures... Who Conjured You From The Clay?'

    An ambitious science fiction satire by John Boorman (Excalibur; Deliverance; Emerald Forest.) A very unique science fiction film even for the groovy days of 1974. This movie is primarily a political and social satire using science fiction as a medium. In the post-apocalyptic Earth of the 24th century, Sean Connery is Zed,an Exterminator. He and his tribe are the followers of Zardoz, their god, a flying stone head seeking food and human tribute in exchange for guns: a lot of guns! Tired of blindly following the violent commands of his god, Zed seeks to find the truth at any cost. Sneaking into the stone head, Zed finds his god and soon realizes that he doesn't like what he sees. But there's more! Zed's brief and strange encounter with his god is all part of a masterplan by the god himself. Zed is left to ponder on those questions as he finds himself trapped inside the shields of the Vortex: a protected community of advanced humans who have overcome death and who have reached the limits of human knowledge. The theme is grand and the plot, although somewhat convoluted, is excquisite. The theme touches upon the purpose of civilization and knowledge: specifically, the plot follows the thematic conflict betweeen immortality and finite knowledge. If you like science fiction movies for state-of-the art special effects, you might be disappointed. If you like science fiction as a satirical medium such as Logan's Run or Brazil, you'll probably like it. If you're a Boorman fan, you definitely need to see this one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    serious camp

    I read every scrap of science fiction available to me in the 60's and early 70's as a kid; coming across Zardoz in the 70's while at college was a hoot, and all that reading prepared me to gladly accept it. Social commentary, both serious and tongue-in-cheek, is what it's about, with some ultra-violence and the old in-out thrown in. Can you resist Sean Connery in 21st century loincloth and ponytail? If so, how about Charlotte Rampling in anything? I admit it does look a bit early-70's but that's OK. Plus, it's my wife's least-favorite film of all time, which in my case at least gives it that little something extra.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Ominous 'Zardoz' Mirrors Society

    Director John Boorman's 1973 sci-fi cult classic extrapolates upon continuing socio-political trends in our world, providing a stirring vision of a future society gone wrong-- and the inevitable resolution of its discordance with the natural order. Bursting with mystical symbolism, it is definitely a film intended for an educated audience, the kind of brainy science fiction associated with a literary tradition, rather than with Hollywood-style fast-paced action-adventure. Though the scenery, cinematography and costumes are striking, the presentation now seems a bit dated, as the film precedes the special-effects revolution sparked by Star Wars in 1977. By and large, however, the mild 'camp' factor does not unduly detract from the film's essential message and relevant commentary on our world. The somewhat complex plot does warrant more than one viewing to fully extract the dense layers of meaning. 'Zardoz' is philosophical and thought-provoking, and touches on central themes of life: the vast and cyclic nature of time; the inevitability of change; the interconnection of birth, youth, old age and death; the unification of pairs of opposites; and the coexistence of divergent world-views working out as the fundamental theme in all drama-- conflict and resolution. Supported by a lesser-known but talented British/Irish cast, Sean Connery gives a fine performance as the hero, Zed, an outsider who infiltrates an impenatrable sanctuary of powerfully psychic, immortal 'custodians of the past for an uncertain future... the rich, the powerful, the clever,' who shelter themselves in comfort and complacency from the sufferings of the wretched masses in the dying outside world. Thematically the film is a 'man vs. the system' story, and Zed is the vengeful destroyer-hero who brings harmony through conflict and upheaval. Though not a benchmark of technical achievement, 'Zardoz' is a satisfying and thought-provoking story, well-suited for the moviegoer who enjoys an intellectually stimulating, philosophical workout, plus some beautiful scenery and perhaps the best cinematic use of Beethoven's 7th symphony.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Sci-Fi Art Film

    Zardoz is unjustly heralded as a "bad film" because it's simply too weird for most people. A brief synopsis of the plot suggests a dystopian sci-fi epic with social commentary on the "haves" and "have nots" of modern Western society, but still rarely prepares a person for the imaginative sets, quirky costume choices, and larger-than-life existentialism-heavy script that, combined, make up ZARDOZ.

    At times, the dialogue in (seemingly unintentionally) campy and bizarre, and the costuming choices, while unlike anything else from any other science fiction film made between the dawn of the sci-fi film and 1980, and while unlike typical 1970s fashion in many ways, still has this distinctly "badly dated '70s" look to it, mainly in their choices of colours and materials (some pieces are obviously that thick, awkward-wearing first generation polyester), but in cut and design, are obviously "futuristic" takes on ancient Mediterranean clothing. The storyline also take a strange nose-dive toward the end (my room-mate's primary complaint about it), where the symbolism of visuals and dialogue suddenly get very heavy -- to love it as anything more than a "camp classic", you need to be receptive to art films.

    The DVD is worth every penny, but fortunately, the price is still low -- the commentary track from director John Boorman is only somewhat insightful on the making of this gem of retrofuturist design and existentialist dialogue, and the trailer and radio spots are entertaining (still haven't perused the gallery of stills), but that's all there is. I would be overjoyed if an edition with interviews of the surviving cast and crew were to come out that could give better detail on the making of this film. My only complsaint about Boorman's commentary track is that near the beginning, he seems to be explaining some of the most easily comprehensible events (specifically, Zed's first moments in Arthur Frayn's house, investigating things he's never seen before); to Boorman's credit, he *says* that some viewers and fans have expressed confusion over what was going on in the scenes he explains, so while understandable, it still felt patronising the first time watching with commentary because it's scenes that just looked so obvious.

    If you go in expecting science fiction and action or even classic melodrama, you're going to be disappointed. If you expect something with a calmer and somehow more oddly optimistic feel than Derek Jarman's _Jubilee_, then you'll find something well-executed and enjoyable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Handle Bar

    Sean Connery with a handle bar mustache wearing red leather speedo and boots with the fur. Yeah, don't do it!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A reviewer

    Sean Connery must have needed the money or didn't read the script on this one, because it was the worst. If I could give it less than a star I would. Not even worth a dollar to rent.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    One of the worst movis ever made

    I remember hearing about Zardoz when I was a kid, but it was R rated so I never had a chance to see it. In college a roommate rented it so I decided to check it out. It has to be one of the worst movies ever made. If you thought Avengers, The Movie was a hoot you'll love Zardoz. It's like Logan's Run without the depth. It's Planet of the Apes without the whimsy. It's Clockwork Orange without the humor. The plot in almost incomprehensible, the writing and directing are confused, and the acting is even worse. It's so bad it wouldn't even make a good subject for Mystery Science Theater 3000. Zardoz, without a doubt, represents the worst of science fiction in the post-60's early 70's period. Dark, dystopian, pretentious, full of its own sense of self importance, and almost completely pointless. .

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews